ASK RENATA

What are the safety considerations regarding bar staff having a drink in their break at our upcoming Christmas party?

Staff parties held on site would not generally require a licence, provided members of the public (except family) do not attend, even if staff are required to pay for their own drinks.

See here for more information.

Under section 21 of our OHS Act however, the employer has a duty to ‘provide and maintain so far as reasonably practicable .... a working environment that is safe and without risk to health.’

Section 20 also imposes a duty on employers to eliminate risk, so far as is reasonably practicable, and if not practicable, to reduce those risks.

Ensuring bar staff consume zero alcohol while on duty eliminates risk of alcohol impairment.

If such a policy were deemed not ‘reasonably practicable’ then limiting their intake to one or two standard drinks might be a reasonably practicable way reduce the risk.

See here for some guidance produced for sporting clubs regarding responsible serving of alcohol. It includes the following which might be applicable to your event:

‘…clubs should not allow bar servers to drink alcohol while on bar duty, for the health and safety of themselves and patrons of the bar.’

Key issues:

  • Duty of care, health and safety
  • Responsible service
  • Effects of alcohol
  • Insurance
  • Handling money and equipment safely
  • Preventing losses (broken glassware/equipment)’
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